A Florida surfer who flew into the air off his last wave of the day unfortunately landed on top of a 6-foot-plus shark.
The shark bit four fingers of his left hand and his left calf and shin.
The encounter at New Smyrna Beach on Florida’s central east coast Tuesday was terrifying, but the injuries weren’t life-threatening.
“I never really try to throw an air, but I tried to throw one,” chiropractor Donald Walsh, 40, told Orlando’s WKMG-TV. “Didn’t land it, landed on a shark instead, and he decided to take a bite out of me.”
He told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he “never did see the shark as I was coming down. I did see it after the bite happened.”
Walsh said it “felt like a freight train hit me and the first thing I could think of was to literally push him away from me. As soon as it happened, I grabbed my board and started to paddle as fast as I could.”
He was treated by paramedics on the scene after the attack and was not taken to a hospital.
The attack was a single strike in waist-deep water, officials said.
New Smyrna Beach is in Volusia County, which is considered the shark attack capital of the world. According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, Volusia had 17 confirmed bites in 2007, more than anywhere else on the globe. It broke that record the next year, with 24 confirmed bites. It was also the world leader in 2017 with nine attacks. There have been four bites this month alone and 11 so far this year.
“It’s pretty sharky out there,” one surfer told WESH-TV in Orlando.
As for Walsh, he told the Daytona Beach newspaper: “I’ll be back in the ocean as soon as the wounds close up.” But, he added, “I’ll definitely be a little more cautious.”